4 lakh Rohingyas take refuge in Bangladesh in 3 weeks; face food, shelter crisis: UN
Dhaka, Sep 18: According to an estimate of the United Nations (UN), around four lakh Rohingya Muslims, the embattled minority fleeing violence in Myanmar, have taken refuge in Bangladesh in the last three weeks.
Since such a massive number of people are seeking shelter in Bangladesh in such a short duration of time, the entire issue has precipitated into a humanitarian crisis. Experts warn that a large number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are facing death because of lack of food, water and shelter.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Dipayan Bhattacharya, the acting chief in Bangladesh for the World Food Programme, a UN body working for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, said that every day about 20,000 to 30,000 people are fleeing Myanmar and coming to Bangladesh.
Bhattacharya added that there has been no reduction in the number of Rohingyas coming to Bangladesh on a daily basis. According to an estimate hundreds of Rohingyas have died due to adverse conditions during their journey to Bangladesh.
The UN has described the Rohingya refugee crisis as grave.
"People are terrorised, traumatised, malnourished, under physical threat and need all kinds of support. This Rohingya crisis will definitely be one of the top humanitarian crises of recent times. One has to keep in mind there were migrations, albeit in smaller numbers and duration, in the past few years as well, and overall Bangladesh now has about 8 lakh Rohingyas, including those who have come this year," Bhattacharya said.
According to various organisations working to provide food and shelter to Rohingyas, the immediate threat is to prevent the outbreak of epidemics as there has been overcrowding of refugees in Bangladesh. The refugees also need help to prevent social problems and physical harm in these grave times.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has asked Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi "a last chance" to halt an army offensive that has forced thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.
Guterres told BBC on Saturday night that Suu Kyi had a last chance to stop the offensive.
"If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don't see how this can be reversed in the future."
The Secretary-General reiterated that the Rohingya should be allowed to return home.
He also said it was clear that Myanmar's military "still have the upper hand" in the country, putting pressure "to do what is being done on the ground" in Rakhine state where the crisis broke out on August 25 when Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts and killed 12 security personnel.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is facing growing criticism over the Rohingya issue.